Heavier concrete trucks will be allowed on Georgia's local road system as of July 1. Officials say the new law likely will force city and county governments to pay an estimated $1 billion to upgrade roads and bridges.
Burt Brantley, a spokesperson for the Department of Transportation, said two-axle trucks that weigh as much as 46,000 pounds, up from a limit of 40,680, now will be allowed on city streets and county roads built for much lighter traffic. "Our job now is to get those bridges and culverts posted," he said. "We will then work with the counties on which ones need to be upgraded."
Brantley explained that the DOT had lobbied heavily against the bill, but pro-business lawmakers wanted the legislation to foster economic development. The measure will allow concrete makers to ship product more cheaply to more parts of the state. Concrete trucks had limited travel parameters before the bill passed. Reportedly, Gov. Roy Barnes signed the measure because it could lead to fewer trucks traveling the highways.
Now signs must be posted at Georgia's 228 bridges in 10 central Georgia counties that aren't strong enough to hold the heavier trucks. "Local governments must pay for improvements to these bridges to get them in compliance," Brantley noted. "Small cities and rural towns are the ones that will be hurt."
--Donna Carlson, staff writer